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you can’t always get what you want

Dear Heart,

Please stop liking unavailable guys. You are not quite ready for the intensity of a long-term truly committed relationship even though you think you are. I know you want to be, but right now just isn’t the time for it. You are fully capable of liking someone to the fullest of your capability so that’s why it’s dangerous for you to like the wrong guy. He may seem like the perfect guy for you, but he is not really if he’s unavailable. Liking him will only put you in an emotional attachment state you can’t get out of for an unknown length of time because you are the kind of girl who loves to a fault. You would give 110% of yourself into the relationship no matter who he turned out to be and that’s just not fair to yourself if you are putting in effort when the guy is unavailable. I know you don’t do that on purpose, but it happens as soon as you get into a state of emotional attachment. It’s like you meet one and as soon as you start talking to him he casts a spell on you. You end up continuing these talks until you can’t break the spell. This goes on until one day he breaks you. Even then the spell isn’t broken, just you are and you leave the pieces for me to put back together again. I know you need me, so I’m just asking you to stay away from the unavailable ones. I promise one day when you meet the right one for you, everything will come effortlessly. You will put in the effort and it will be reciprocated. He won’t leave you and he’ll be faithful to you. He won’t take you for granted and he’ll give you 110% back. Until then, don’t get emotionally involved. At all. Don’t beat faster when he’s around. Don’t get excited when he starts conversations with you. Don’t look into his eyes while talking to him and sense a connection when all he’s doing is talking to you. Don’t make me have fake conversations with him when he’s not around. In fact, don’t make me think about him when he’s not around. I know I say these things to you and you are only half listening. But that is why you have me here – to help you get through this mess you can only explain in a Rolling Stones song.

Love,

Brain

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Mark

The hardest part is knowing you will never walk through the Orchestra doors again to come give me a hug and ask how I’m doing, even more than it was for me to visit you in your home for the first and last time and see you in your skeletal state. I wanted to be positive or say something uplifting, but I lost it as soon as I saw you that night looking like my dad did right before he went. You comforted me when he went. You comforted me when I was having a hard time at work. You did stuff like that for anyone you got to know and helped any Orchestra member work on their craft with you if needed. You were that kind of music teacher, one who was not just a music teacher. And that was just with the musicians you knew. The next day I heard someone sobbing in my car on the way home after work. Your record was on. I wanted to comfort her, the one that was sobbing. But my ugly cry was clouding the road and I couldn’t stop the sobbing because life’s not fair when it comes to cancer. I laughed at no jokes at work. I spoke to no one unless I had to. Nothing was worse than realizing the sobbing was coming from me, the girl who hates to be sad, who hates it so much she has to listen to Britney Spears to get back in a better mood. In less than two weeks later you went. My sobbing had become uncontrollable at this point. Then those of us who could make it said good-bye to you on a Monday night. But it’s not really good-bye. It was a celebration of your life, the way you left your mark on this world. It’s not about the numbers, but when I looked around and saw so many people there, it was a testimony to the way you spread joy to everyone you came across and made friends wherever you went. You were that kind of follower of Jesus. I didn’t lose it until one of your best friends in the Orchestra went up to the podium to share your funnies. There were so many, laughter came shooting out of my belly like a dragon and that was the beginning of the end of my sobbing. It was like a switch turned it off because I finally got it. It’s not about being sad because you’re gone. We will see you again one day. It’s not even about the way you played your sax so beautifully and humbly. It’s about the fact you lived a full life with the time that you had. You prioritized your family and friends because life is meaningless if you don’t appreciate those around you. But it all comes down to your love of the Lord, which is what motivated everything you did on this Earth. Now if I have a bad habit I want to break I’m going to think of what you said at the music convention to the trombonist before I start something I will regret: “Don’t do it, man!”

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Brain Fog

I don’t know when I started listening to K-pop, but I’m pretty sure I found it on someone’s Xanga once upon a time. So it’s been a while, but I do know that I listen to it as a way to have some pop music playing in the background that won’t distract me since I don’t know Korean. Well, I don’t know Korean except for the few words I learned from watching “My Sassy Girl.” Which words? Let’s just say I was asked once why I am threatening the death of Korean squirrels. XD

I listen to K-pop off and on, but lately I am on again and this time it’s Hyuna. I am liking her newer stuff more than her older stuff, but her music videos, especially her older ones, are still too provocative for my taste. So I try and pay more attention to the translated lyrics and the music. Amazingly the lyrics are different from what I expected and I know a lot of Asian pop tends to sprinkle in some English words here and there without really knowing the definitions of those words, but I like Hyuna’s twist on how these words are used. For example, calling a love of flowers a “flower shower.” I like that idea now and I can credit it to Hyuna. (I like the music video for this song. She looks more pretty and ladylike rather than provocative.) She also sings about not being cool, which I think is vastly different from all the songs out there saturated with tints of how cool the singer is.  

How’s this?

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therapy is how i do

Well, I’m starting the New Year with a broken heart. And my cat died exactly a year ago tomorrow. Happy New Year to me. I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I am sad. I’ve had my heart broken more times than I can count. Actually, that’s not true. I bet if I really sat down to think about it, I could count all the times I’ve had my heart broken, but I’m not going to because that’ll just make me extra sad. I don’t think I can take any more sadness. I’m writing this because this is my therapy. This time around I’ve been organizing my CDs while listening to them. They are old songs, of course, and I find that if I do my own private karaoke session with them while dancing with my old moves I learned from dance teachers in my past, I feel a lot better. I guess that would be my vocal physical therapy. Does that kind of therapy exist for real? I guess I could Google it, but I’m not. Or maybe I could be the first to bring it about! Either way, it’s helping me. I’ve also been watching a lot of music videos. I don’t know why that helps. I guess it has something to do with combining a mini movie mixed with music, two of my favorite things in the world, that makes it so therapeutic. Maybe every movie needs to be just 3 minutes long. Hopefully movies can still be made this year. If not, at least animated films should still be able to be made. It makes me think about how art and music and movies and novels exist because life is hard. (A good man is so hard to find, but a hard man is so good to find.) Duh. Everyone knows that. And all those things are a way for all of us to escape from life. Whether it’s bills or taxes or a broken heart or a broken car or a broken house or losing a loved one to cancer or worrying about a loved one in prison who is a lot more susceptible to getting the virus or black lives matter or the election or academic future or employment future or mental challenges or physical disabilities or losing a pet or all of the above, we all want to escape from it all from time to time. We all want to be loved. We all want to be understood. It’s just sometimes easier to find that love and understanding from the therapy we use to escape.  

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Tryin’ My Best, Kansas City

I’ve been listening to Mandy Moore’s latest album, Silver Landings, and I felt inspired by one of her songs on there about Los Angeles. Obviously I can’t exactly write about L.A., but I realized I’m not sure I can write about K.C. either. I know that sounds like a sad conclusion, but what I mean is, while I can’t say K.C. has treated me horribly since I moved here, it doesn’t have that spark with me, like when girls talk about meeting a possible date for the first time and if there was an immediate chemistry or not, you know? K.C. is good, but it’s missing that something something for me and it’s not for a lack of trying. I guess my biggest pain point about this city is making new friends. You can make new friends anywhere. It just might take some time, maybe longer than you had wanted, but no matter how much time you take, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll make the kinds of friends you want to keep. What it breaks down to is I have a couple of shallow friends in K.C., but no deep friendships forged into a bond I never want to break. I’ve come to realize how hard that is to find once you move away from a city where you do have those deep friendships that actually mean something when you reflect on them. And that is the grim reality I face each day I am here. I left Columbia, MO for K.C. and I’ve come to realize over the course of time that while I may not have deep friendships in K.C., I do have a couple in CoMO that I still keep in touch with that are what I’m looking for in a keeper friendship. I hope they stay that way, but for now, I’m grateful I can text/e-mail/call/snail mail with them, truly. It is especially great to be able to do that during this neverending pandemic. I just never imagined five years in and I still don’t have what I’m looking for in a friend nearby. Is it possible to live somewhere and not have friends close by, but a couple keepers in another city close by? Within the last five years I’ve met a couple new girl friends in K.C. that I started hanging out with and broke bread together a couple of times where I could share details about my life and vice versa, but none of them ended up sticking once I was betrayed/flaked out on/freeloaded on/abandoned. Some I cut out of my life, others stopped texting/calling me to hang out. What it comes down to is I’m not meeting like-minded girls organically. I’ve met some who are great for hanging out, but so far have not developed any of those great hangs to deeper friendships I want to keep. I don’t want to be sad or angry about my situation in K.C. It just might be a great lesson in being alone and learning to accept everything that comes with being alone. There must be some reason why I’m going through this and I’m not going to let it get me down or feel sorry for myself. I may not get to forge the kind of keeper friendship I want in K.C., but I am going to let this experience help me forge a new identity. YuMin 2.0.

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past, present & future

I haven’t cut my nails in a while, but I will cut them soon. I’m not the long-nails type of girl and I can’t function with long nails. Long nails are best displayed on girls who work the cash register, not the back-office girls. That’s that. Case closed.

I like drinking water because I used to drink Sprite all the time until my mother told me it wasn’t “good for you” and I quit cold turkey. Water didn’t have the flavor of Sprite, but once I got used to drinking it all the time, it’s now my favorite thing to drink. BUT, I do notice that if I have pizza or Mexican food, I crave a little of that soda that I quit. So I go for some sweet tea sometimes.

I dip my nose into the smell of rosin as I ready my instrument for a socially-distanced recording session. There is nothing like the smell of being that close to the bridge of my violin. It’s the scent of things in the making. It’s the scent of hope waiting to blossom.

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the inside joke

When I was a kid, I loved playing in the backyard if only to observe the animals. I remember sitting on the wooden swing my dad had built and instead of swinging, watching a rabbit chewing on something green. (It was most likely just plain old grass, but it could have been clover.) It was minding its own business and noticing that I was a good distance away, therefore would not be able to disturb it. I’d see its head pop up and down, like perpetual motion. I decided right then and there that rabbits can make anything edible look really good to eat. It’s a special talent they possess.

I started humming. It kept chewing. I was going to Suzuki Violin School at the time (who with a violin wasn’t?) and so hummed a piece I had been practicing for my next lesson with my violin teacher. I think it was “Humoresque” because I was still very young and in the beginner’s stage of learning to play my new instrument and that piece has some fast and slow parts. Yes, it was “Humoresque” and another piece called “Allegro.” That would make more sense for the fast parts. Here is where the rabbit had an interesting reaction to sound. Whenever I hummed the slow parts the way my violin teacher taught me, it would continue chewing as if nothing was wrong. Whenever I hummed the fast parts the way my violin teacher taught me, it started hopping away, scared. But as soon as I stopped humming the fast parts, it would slow down again and the whole cycle repeated when I started humming the fast parts again.

You know what, it was humorous to watch this rabbit. It was a moment in time that makes me laugh every time I think of it. It’s an inside joke between me and that rabbit. Even though that particular rabbit is long gone, now when I get to watch a rabbit eat, whether in the front yard or the back, I get to pull this gem of a memory out. Man, my violin teacher was good.

 

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Matt

Matt

When I got back from the Dominican Republic, all I wanted to do was escape again. Overwhelmed was putting it lightly. My brain was back to reality, but reality hadn’t set in. I was spacey, tired, sad, sleepy, confused, empty, guilty, giddy, happy, and nervous all rolled into one. My head hurt a little, but my brain couldn’t comprehend that pain. It was too distracted. Everyone wanted to know what I did there, how was it?, and no, beyond the bug bites and sunburn! Beach, a couple excursions, I said to some. I left out the buffets and unlimited drinks to some others. All I wanted to do was find out how the Orchestra was doing since he went. Am I allowed to feel giddy and happy in the midst of him being gone? I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now.

There is a tribute for him in his old chair, complete with his trumpet and a picture of him smiling with his dog. It is not the same without him physically present and I want to cry when I see it, only no tears slide down. I see my stand partner tearing up and all I can do is touch her arm lightly. I should hug her, I should say something wise, but I have nothing to offer except for that light touch. I am thinking of the last words I said to him and how I’m still in shock. “Thank you” seems not enough to express my gratitude for his presence, but I’m glad I got the chance to say it. Even one last time, unknowingly.

How unfair life really is, this short living, breathing beast that we must face every single day and yet never know how much longer we have left. It didn’t happen. He’s going to be back when it’s Orchestra time, not band only. It’s just going to be band only for a while. Orchestra welcomes me back, especially the string section, but I just feel guilty I went away to the Caribbean, where the sun and personal heartbreak is eight times stronger than anywhere else, while everyone else was left here to mourn, here to pray, here to have to come up with things to say to his parents, here to visit, and here to suffer in silence together.

Tonight I want to weep in the shower, except all that comes out is an inscrutable sound, like the start of a wail that was cut short by pure grief that wanted to hide. He’s gone and I didn’t say good-bye. I prayed, but I was too cowardly to really say good-bye. I have already gone through too much and I can’t go through another one. My brain is twisted. I am happy for the progression of my personal life, even though I’m afraid to really talk about it. This feeling mixed with loss is a confusing mess of emotions, an amalgam of fears I can’t chase away no matter how hard I go to work.

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…violin especially

You died today. I know nothing about you except that your mother must have accompanied you to every lesson and written down everything you were doing wrong. She smiled at your teacher and then as soon as you were alone with her at home the stern look would make an appearance and everything written down would fly off the page and onto your face, leaving you wondering why someone who doesn’t even know how to hold the bow right could believe she’s good at everything, including this. I know you must have practiced ten hours a day or maybe it was two hours every night after school and then work before joining such a prestigious orchestra. That must have been the most nerve-wracking audition of your life, but at least one where you didn’t feel like you had to tell anyone what they wanted to hear about how your audition went because it was all the truth. Your truth. And you were finally ready to tell it. That’s why LA Phil let you in. Your father must have never supported your dream which only made you practice harder, not so much to prove him wrong as so much not wanting to end up like him, skeptical of anything and anyone that didn’t have to do with his immediate family. LA Phil headlines are still here. You died, but your dream stays alive.

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Trying to be all “yay!” and not sure yet if it’ll work…

HappyBirthday

I picked this up today even though it was 15 days ago. I just didn’t get a chance to until now. It was a nice surprise free gift from Ulta. I didn’t want to pass it up even though I’m not really the girly type. Who knows? I may need to use it in the future. I can see why some girls really love this stuff. The packaging of beauty products almost always looks pretty. And shiny too a lot of times. I suppose pretty and shiny appeals to most girls.

Britney Spears has become a kind of good luck charm for me. If I randomly hear her song somewhere, it usually means something good will happen to me. When I listen to her albums, I feel happy and if I feel down, her songs lift me up. It all started with her being the first artist I ever became a fan of such a long time ago. Some people have made fun of me for liking her, but I mean, if she’s got so many fans she’s super famous, there are a lot of people out there who would disagree with those people who made fun of me for liking her. That has to count for something right?

Well, the next few days, and hopefully this won’t last for more than a few days, I will be listening to Britney Spears a lot or at least wishing I could hear her song randomly somewhere.